Last Friday morning, Skyler’s alarm went off early. I dug deeper under the sheets and curled up tightly into the blankets. I had another hour before I even needed to think about getting out of bed. It’s Friday, finally, a day that I’ve been looking forward to since my alarm went off on Monday morning. I was not in the groove last week. I hadn’t been feeling very well, and despite it being an unseasonably warm week, I had been so chilly. And, just like every other winter, I felt so unenergized and frustrated that I rarely see the light of day. It’s usually dark when I wake up, and the sun is normally setting by the time I leave my mostly window-less office. I get into this funk every winter, it never fails.
When I walked into the office, it was a little after 8:30. I moved through my typical work-day routine: I took my laptop out of my bag, and opened it on my desk, lightly pressing the power button. I fished through my purse to pull out my cell phones, and tossed them on top of my calendar. I picked up the empty coffee mug that sits in front of my mercury glass jar of pens, pencils, highlighters and markers, and I walked through the small maze of industrial cubes, through the door, down the hall and back toward the kitchen. I opened the metal drawer that holds the office supply of K-cups, and automatically reached for the light teal Caribou Coffee canister. I plopped it into the holder, pulled down the lever and pressed the 10 ounce button. (Like 10 ounces is ever enough.) As I waited to hear that gritty, gurgling sound of coffee trickling into my cup, I peered absent-mindedly around the kitchen. And then I noticed for the first time that someone had rearranged the magnetic poetry on the refrigerator.
Three tiny, separate magnets, arranged in a vertical line. Delightfully. Happy. Lives. As the stream of coffee pouring into my cup came to an splattering end, I walked back to my desk and began to wonder, “What makes my life delightfully happy?” The answers to that question weren’t hard to come by; in fact, there are actually a lot of things that make my life delightfully happy. But I realized that maybe I didn’t feel like I was in the groove last week because I’ve been focusing on the things that don’t make me happy (like cold weather, piles of laundry, burning food on the stove and talking to people on the phone), rather than the things that do (like spontaneous games of rummy in the living room, using my creativity, reading and when all four of us – Dale and Bux included – are curled up in bed late on a Sunday morning).
A delightfully happy life for me means being more mindful, more present and more intentional about spending my time on the things I love.
Example: One day last week, after an exceptionally rough day at work, I blazed through the front door. I said hello to Skyler, Dale and Buxton and charged back to our bedroom, changed immediately into more comfortable clothes, and then I threw myself down on the sofa, still just stewing. After a little bit of back and forth conversation, Skyler asked, “Did you notice that I cleaned the kitchen?” And I hadn’t. I hadn’t noticed at all. I’m someone who gets really stressed out in messy areas. When I was in high school, I had to clean my room and make my bed before I could get started on my homework. I can’t do my job well if my desk is messy. Similarly, I can’t relax at the end of the day if our house is messy. So Skyler, who knows how anxious the dishes in the sink and the oil splatters on the stove had been making me, had cleaned. I was so annoyed about my day that I didn’t even notice that he had taken the time to remove a stressor from my life. And I felt like such a jerk.
So, I’m making an effort to focus on my delightfully happy life, rather than the small, nagging things that sometimes try to get in the way.
- For me, that means spending quality time with our friends and family. But it also means knowing when I’ve spent too much time extroverting and need to unplug and recharge in the quiet comfort of my home.
- It means getting back into the kitchen and experimenting with new recipes, regardless of the fact that our oven is a little temperamental and I usually burn food. Truthfully, it’s become like a running joke between Skyler and I.
- It means reading more books and watching less TV. Except for the Bachelor. I will always love that show.
- It means learning new things, whether they’re big or small. Like the dice game Skyler spontaneously taught me last week or how to knit or maybe even a new language.
- It means understanding the voices and personalities of the people around me.
- It means spending our money differently. Being homeowners means that it’s more important to spend $100 on a space heater that we’ll have for years, rather than $100 on a sweater that would likely have a much shorter shelf life. (Note: Skyler has been the biggest influence here. Admittedly, I’ve never been great at saving money, but he’s really helped me understand the value of a dollar. For example, there are these smoothies that I love to have for breakfast. At our go-to grocery store, they are 30¢ more expensive than somewhere else. So, if I drank one every morning for an entire year, making this switch would save me over $100.00. In the grand scheme of things, $100.00 over a year seems minuscule, but that’s just a small example.)
- It means actually using our gym membership. Even though working out is the worst.
- It means getting outside a little more. Last year, we both bought skis, and we live 5 minutes away from the nearest mountain, but I’ve yet to break mine in.
It means a whole lot of things, to be honest. And I feel pretty darn excited about my delightfully happy life.
What helps you lead a delightfully happy life?